“Scientists Question Data, Ethics, Findings of Lancet HCQ Study”

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The Story

“Scientists Question Data, Ethics, Findings of Lancet HCQ Study”
by Marcus Banks
Medscape, June 1, 2020

The Pitch

[Marcus Banks notes: The Lancetretracted this study on June 4, three days after this publication. On June 1 the study was in highly questionable territory, but not yet removed from the scientific record.]

Hello Ellie, here’s a pitch. Just seven days ago researchers reported that treating COVID19 with the antimalarials chloroquine and hydroxychloroguine lead to increased in-hospital mortality, in the Lancet. In response WHO temporarily paused recruitment of participants into a study of the effectiveness of hydroxychloroquine for COVID19 treatment.This is one of four arms in an ongoing WHO trial to compare various treatments against standard of care for COVID19.

But was the Lancet study valid? More than 100 epidemiologists and biostatisticians have their doubts – in an open letter, they claim that the authors did not control for confounders, reported numbers of hospitalizations and deaths that did not match with national registry figures, and are generally being secretive about their data sources despite the fact that the Lancet pledged to make COVID19 data openly available.

I’d like to report about the controversy as it stands now – with comments from the study authors, an open letter writer, Lancet editor in chief Richard Horton, and an outside expert (biostatistician Natalie Dean). Thanks for your consideration!

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